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June 10, 2010
Strange Bedfellows Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
22/4/20048/6/2010Icon FilmsDean Murphy
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MPaul Hogan

Paul Hogan and Michael Caton in Strange Bedfellows.

Paul Hogan is a favourite of mine. Be it his TV shows that screened before I was even alive, or his smash hit Crocodile Dundee, or the brilliant war TV series ANZACs he always brings something special, and likable to the production. In 2004 he released another great movie, Strange Bedfellows.

After reading about the passing of new tax law that would benefit same-sex couples, working class guy Vince (Paul Hogan) convinces his lifelong friend Ralph (Michael Caton) to file their taxes together. They assume they will easily get away with the ruse, with no one in their cozy, small town the wiser. But when an official from the department of taxation (Pete Postlethwaite) arrives to investigate their claim, Vince and Ralph are forced to act out their ruse to avoid legal trouble--and end up shocking and surprising their family and the other townsfolk.

Of course whenever entertainment is produced about 'racism', 'religion' or 'sexual orientation' it is bound to create controversy but Strange Bedfellows seemed to avoid that simply by having a good, heartfelt, script with likable characters that, while homophobic like most the townsfolk to begin with, are redeemed through a series of events that take place during the course of the movie. Sure there are some stereotypical images and moments, but Paul Hogan and Michael Caton handle the material well and are both very likable as Vince and Ralph.

Indeed Strange Bedfellows wasn't the biggest movie in terms of critical or commercial success, but it did generate a lot of international attention when a near identical movie called I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was released and saw a lawsuit from the makers of Strange Bedfellows (although this was withdrawn in 2008 when the Australian filmmakers saw that the Adam Sandler movie was written separately and was simply a coincidence the storylines were so similar).

Working closely together in Strange Bedfellows.
Strange Bedfellows isn't the greatest movie ever put to film. But it's a fun, lighthearted, Australian comedy. Paul Hogan is as entertaining as ever, and Michael Caton is up to the task too. If you haven't seen this film then I suggest you check it out.

Strange Bedfellows is presented on Blu-Ray with a AVC MPEG-4 1920 x 1080i encoding. It was somewhat disappointing that they didn't use progressive video however unlike some interlaced video it's not an 'apparent' interlaced video encoding. The video bitrate is generally above 20Mbps, and occasionally above 30Mbps. Colours are quite good with natural skin tones, but at times - particularly in the club scenes - the colours are quite vibrant. All-in-all for a low budget Australian film this is quite a good looking film on Blu-Ray and certainly an upgrade over the DVD release.

There are two audio options on the Strange Bedfellows Blu-Ray. These were a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48hz) English track and a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. We sampled both before settling on the DTS track which we feel just sounds that tiny bit sharper, but they are really nigh on identical so either track will suffice.

There's something a little strange about the audio on this disc however. Taking one example, have a listen around the 29:00 minute mark and it sound like there is a slight echo in the dialogue. Initially I thought I'd bumped something on the audio settings on my Onkyo receiver, but no, it's seems to be the track. This occurs several times throughout the movie. The disc also includes an English subtitle track which, nicely, colours the subtitles according to the person talking.

Taking some photos from the bushes.
Sadly Strange Bedfellows comes to Blu-Ray with absolutely no extras at all. This is all the more disappointing due to the amount of additional content on the DVD which includes deleted scenes, an audio commentary, photos, and interviews among others. Now it's bad when a movie studio neglects to include extras from the DVD in SD let along in HD, but to not include them at all is criminal...

As a big fan of Paul Hogan I generally enjoy any of his movies, but his teaming with Michael Caton for this film is brilliant. Sure it may offend some, but it is done in the right spirit, provides quite a few laughs, and a quite decent transfer on this disc. If you're after a good Australian comedy check out Strange Bedfellows which is out now on Blu-Ray at the low RRP of $24.95 through Icon Films.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.